Do you really have to wear goggles?

It has been more than six months since the entire world has been wearing masks, washing, hands practicing social distancing to keep them safe from the Coronavirus. These three have been necessary SOP everywhere. But some other precautionary measures and home remedies have also come forwards that people think helped them stay safe during the pandemic. One of them is wearing goggles or any other eye protection.

Research has shown that protecting your eyes could help stop the spread of the virus. However, according to some doctors, it is not as necessary as wearing a mask, and even if wearing eye protection is recommended, it is only when you find yourself in an area where the concentration of virus is high or your job is one that requires a lot of public dealing. Some examples of such cases can be someone who works as a clerk at a grocery store or a pharmacist. Otherwise, for now, masks are enough. It is also crucial to understand that wearing goggles or eye protection, is by no means, a replacement of masks. Masks are necessary irrespective of whether you should wear goggles or not.

The main question to focus on here is, “Can we contract the virus through our eyes?”. And according to the recent report that was published by the JAMA Ophthalmology, the answer is yes.

We’ve known it’s a risk at the hospital level,” said Dr. Matthew Heinz who is a hospitalist and an internist in Tucson, Arizona. “If someone is coughing or sneezing and they don’t have a face shield, those droplets can get into the mucous membranes around the eyes and infect people.”

“For months we’ve required clinicians, therapists, nurses, and physicians treating patients to have eye protection, especially if it’s a known or suspected case [of COVID-19],” said Heinz. “It doesn’t sound like everyone should be in a helmet, but depending on the risk of exposure it makes a lot of sense. As a physician working with a lot of COVID patients, I wear goggles.”

During a Live conversation on Instagram on ABC News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Trusted Source, said, “You have mucosa in the nose, mucosa in the mouth, but you also have mucosa in the eye,”.

The importance of eye protection was also highlighted by Dr. Joel S. Schuman, the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Health and also works as the director of the NYU Langone Eye Center, who said;

“Transmission through the eyes is unlikely, although infection with COVID-19 is nearly three times more likely without eye protection than with it,”.

However, as mentioned before and as it is also clarified by Dr. Fauci, wearing goggles can be helpful as it is an extra layer of protection, but still not recommended universally. In the words of Dr. Mathew,

“As we become more familiar with the virus and how it spreads, we have modified recommendations as the disease evolves and we learn more about it. I think it makes sense from time to time to update the recommendations.”

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